By Ted Waddell
ROSCOE January 14, 2003 It was anybodys game.
In Thursdays non-league boys varsity basketball game, the Bears of Tri-Valley jumped out to a two point (16-14) lead against the home team Roscoe Blue Devils at the end of the first quarter.
But in the nip and tuck contest of hoops, Roscoe bounced back in the second period to outscore T-V (5-5), 16-13, to take a slim lead into the locker room.
In the third period, Roscoe declawed the Bears by a 17-12 margin. The Blue Devils kept up the pressure in the final period on their way to a 70-60 victory.
The Blue Devils were up by nine near the start of the fourth period, but saw their lead trimmed to five points at the hands of T-Vs Kyle Humphrey, who scored a game-high 27 points.
At the 2:50 mark, Roscoes Brian Ballard scored to put the Blue Devils back up by 10 points (61-51). With less than a minute remaining on the game clock, the Bears were back on the attack as they narrowed the Blue Devils lead to five points.
But Roscoe (3-6) got a few much- needed points at the free throw line and went on to rack up the win.
At Roscoe, the 2002-2003 basketball season represents historical tradition in a new setting, as the 1939 gymnasium was replaced this year with new a state-of-the-art facility.
The previous 40 x 62 postage stamp-size basketball court gave way to a highly-polished regulation sized 50 x 84 hardwood floor that on game night reflected the players images as they battled for the win.
I have a lot of feelings for our old gym, but this is really basketball, said Roscoe Coach Fred Ahart, who also serves as the schools Athletic Director.
Above the crowded gym, it was a case of the old mixed with the new: a banner proclaiming the Lady Blue Devils Western Sullivan League Basketball Championship 1975-1976 was hung beside banners recording their success as Section IX Class D and OCIAA Undefeated Division V champions last season (2001-2002).
In a sense, the spirit of sportsmanship at Roscoe harkens back to less abrasive times. As opposing players stepped up to the free throw line, you could almost hear a pin drop, and after the shot, the crowd gave them a hand, hit or miss.
In the closing moments, a couple of catcalls ruffled the crowd, but they were the exception rather than the rule.
When the home team scored, the joint went wild.
Many would say thats the nature of high school sportsmanship at its best.
I thought both teams played hard, said Ahart. We held the lead down the stretch by making some free throws.
Stats from the free throw line: RCS 11/23 (48%), TVCS 10/22 (45%).
In tipping his hat to the opposition, Ahart added that T-V deserves a lot of credit.
Ahart said the Blue Devils got off to a slow start this season as it took a while for some hard-charging players to recover from various gridiron injuries.
Our team is just getting together now, so we should continue to improve, he said.
Blue Devil players who scored at least 10 points in the win were Brian Ballard (18), Dan Park (17), Justin Bowers (13) and Tim Haas (11).
For the Bears, Humphrey netted the aforementioned 27 points, while junior center Martin Henry-Lester netted 12 points.